With months of hype, four promotional singles, and a shoutout from Donald Glover, the hype behind Migos’ second studio album Culture has been intense. Unfortunately, Culture fails to carve out its own unique spot in trap like their contemporaries Travi$ Scott or Future have managed to do so. Migos drop a number of bangers, but at the same time their latest project is plagued by uninteresting songs that drag it down as a whole.
Opening title track Culture begins with an introduction from DJ Khaled, usually a (sort of) good sign. But Culture’s opening track is weak. The Migos trio of Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff drop bars that are forgettable as the beat; samey trap drums over autotuned wailing in the background. Second track T-Shirt, already released as a promo single, is an easy upgrade from the opener. Migos evoke Travi$ Scott and Kid Cudi with their digital croons, providing some of the stronger lyrics on the project. Where Migos continue to shine is their energy and their ability to latch onto a beat and take control.
Tracks like Big on Big (a moody string laden trap banger complete with jazzy piano backing) and Call Casting showcase Migos’ ability to fit into the groove and enhance any track. While the typical Migos’ flow (dun dun-dun dun-dun dun ADLIB) grows stale quickly, the fact that three voices switch in and out, complementing and contrasting one another, brings surges of energy when it starts to fade.
Bad and Boujee, the first single, chart topper, and famous meme, is no doubt still Culture’s strongest track. Although Takeoff is nowhere to be seen, Offset, Quavo, and surprisingly Lil Uzi Vert drop what is easily one of trap’s catchiest and most well done tracks. Interestingly, the album version of Bad and Boujee lacks some musical elements and showcases the track’s lyrics and adlibs.
Culture’s features often add little to trap tracks that Migos have already added their spin on, asking why they are even there in the first place. Despite being ridiculed, Lil Uzi Vert’s final verse on Bad and Boujee is a standout memorable moment for the entire album, owing to his unique voice and melodic aspects. Gucci Mane’s verse on Slippery is a boring addition to an already boring song, the kind of lackluster performance that could have been cut and pasted anywhere from Everybody Looking or The Return of East Atlanta Santa. Travi$ Scott adds some flavour to Kelly Price, but it just sounds like a Scott song without the lush and powerful production.
Still, Culture is not without its fair share of captivating bangers and trap anthems. Deadz featuring 2 Chainz is an epic track that features the quartet spitting over triumphant horns and orchestral instrumentals. You want to listen to this loud, with the bass way up. Get Right Witcha is another track with a more lowkey beat (with a flute-y and glockenspiel-y instrumental) that Migos transform into a certified banger. Quavo and Offset are perfect contrasts; Offset drops bars while Quavo brings the energy. All Ass and Brown Paper Bag are repetitive and overdone, but the Migos flow turns them into more interesting tracks.
Culture is far from being a boring album, and its standout tracks will bring longtime trap fans back for more. But in terms of trap and the wider scene of hip hop, Culture is an album lacking innovation and cohesion. Migos do what they can to make every track interesting, but the fundamental flaws are their basis lyricism and dull production, not a lack of energy on their part. Culture bangs, that’s for sure, but whether listeners will still be coming back in a year is another question.